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Roger Goodell to face questions on ‘woke’ NFL from Republicans in Congressional testimony

Matt Johnson
Roger Goodell
Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform today regarding the league’s investigation into Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder. While many of the questions will focus on Snyder, Goodell will also face criticisms about the league’s approach to societal issues.

Shortly before Goodell virtually testified in front of members of Congress on Wednesday, Congressman James Comer (R-Ky.) told John Keim of ESPN that he and fellow Republicans on the committee intend to focus their questioning on the “woke” aspect of the NFL.

Comer has long been critical of the Democratic-led committee’s decision to investigate allegations of the Commanders’ toxic culture and the NFL failing to disclose the findings from its own inquiry into Snyder. In April, Comer blasted committee chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney for the “sham” investigation.

“The primary mission of the House Oversight and Reform Committee is to root out waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in the federal government. Unfortunately, your so-called “investigation” into the Washington Commanders lacks even any foundation for exercising congressional oversight authority.”

James Comer on House Committee for Oversight and Reform investigating NFL, Daniel Snyder (H/T USA Today)

He has blasted his Democratic committee members for taking a “one-sided approach” to the investigation, suggesting Democrats are “exceeding the bounds of what is permissible for Congress to investigate.”

  • Roger Goodell salary: $63.9 million per year

Notably, Snyder has a long history of donating to Republicans. According to OpenSecrets.org, the Commanders’ owner, donated $1 million to former President Donald Trump’s inaugural. He previously donated to the Super PAC “Right to Rise” in 2015 in support of Jeb Bush and financially backed the National Republican Senatorial Committee and multiple candidates in his areas of residence.

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As for the types of criticisms Goodell will face, the NFL commissioner will likely come under fire for the league’s support of Colin Kaepernick, its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and recent changes made to league policies.

Goodell said in 2020 that he supports the Black Lives Matter social justice movement and he regretted how the NFL treated players who kneeled during the national anthem to protest social issues. Shortly after, the NFL pledged $250 million to combat ‘systemic racism’ in the United States.

The NFL commissioner has also criticized the league for its lack of diversity in the coaching and ownership ranks, pushing for changes to hiring practices to create more opportunities for minority candidates.

NFL TV ratings suffered a massive blow in 2020, with the election cycle and some outrage from a section of fans over the league’s change in approach. However, viewership and TV ratings have bounced back in the past two years and resulted in broadcasting rights contracts worth more than $100 billion.

Related: Roger Goodell negotiating new contract extension